Tao Te Ching

The Power of Goodness, the Wisdom Beyond Words
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Ordinary Wonder

By Charlotte Joko Beck

Simple, straight-forward Zen teachings stripped of esoteric mysticism and drenched in practical application to everyday life; Ordinary Wonder offers a psychological approach to Buddhism that goes beyond psychology using some of its insights while making it—to some extent at least—irrelevant.

Quotes from Ordinary Wonder

“A complaint is one form of anger, and anger—especially hidden anger—keeps the world in a mess... There's a big difference between experiencing your anger and thinking you have to put it out there and fix somebody with it.”

Chapters:

Themes: Complaint Anger

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“A life of practice is the most rewarding, the most exciting, and the most alive thing you can do. But it's no piece of cake.”

Chapters:

Themes: Meditation

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“A lot of success stories in our country are based on a core belief that says, I'm nothing. I'm incapable. So, I'll spend my life proving I'm capable.' That can be a very outwardly successful yet lifeless way to live.”

Chapters:

Themes: Success

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“All human beings are at war with themselves... The war is between the way we think we should be and who we are... between wanting pleasure (or ease or success) and being with the truth that life doesn't care about our pleasure (or ease or success)... We are all caught in the feeling that we should be some other way.”

Chapters:

Themes: War Pleasure

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“all our problems are versions of 'My self is disturbed by what other selves are doing.' And there aren't any other selves.”

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“all our problems are versions of 'My self is disturbed by what other selves are doing.' And there aren't any other selves.”

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“Are you listening? Listening is the greatest gift I can give you as a teacher, and the greatest gift you can give another person.”

Chapters:

Themes: Openness

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“As human beings, we like things to be fixed. We're always trying to control the world so we can be safe. But in doing so, we make the world very small, seemingly more manageable—like a pigeonhole.”

Chapters:

Themes: Control

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“Boredom is another form of desire– 'I want something to entertain me.' But if we can stay unattached to the thinking, and just experience the pain or boredom, something bigger begins to surround it.”

Chapters:

Themes: Entertainment

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“enlightenment isn't something we march toward, and one day, somehow, we grab it. Enlightenment is the ending in yourself of that hope for something other than life being as it is.”

Chapters:

Themes: Enlightenment

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“Freedom is the name of the game. Freedom to be nothing... The longer we practice, the more we have a clue about how to slowly become free.”

Chapters:

Themes: Free Will

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“Happiness is the 'up-up-up.' Joy is the peace in what is... When we understand practice as being okay with what is, that leads to joy. Joy is what's going on, minus our opinion about it.”

Chapters:

Themes: Happiness

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“Hope is really a thought that maybe it will be different someday... If you hope, you're thinking. The reality of practice is just to be.”

Chapters:

Themes: Hope

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“If the universe is just arising with no space and time, it means everything that is arising is of equal importance. It means all these things are equally arising”

Chapters:

Themes: One Taste

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“If you want your life to truly transform, you do this by just staying with the mess. You stay in it. A lot of practice is just sheer persistence and patience with the confusion.”

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“It's that foolishness of wanting things to always stay the same, to stay good, that keeps our lives from being joyful.”

Chapters:

Themes: Change

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“Often, we would rather be safe than free... Practice is about going into darkness. But we're only interested in looking at life in a way that doesn't disturb us... We want to stay where we're used to... looking at the surface of things.”

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“the biggest error in the world is thinking we ever know what another person is truly like. Even if you've lived with somebody for 30 years, you don't know what they're like.”

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Themes: Mistakes

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“the closer the relationship, the more easily the dagger goes in, the more we feel it, and the harder it is to heal. Often, the greatest wounds come from our families... The anger and the pain from that relationship is often our greatest wound.”

Chapters:

Themes: Family

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“The great oneness of everything may be the ultimate reality, but we don't usually notice it very much in our everyday lives.”

Chapters:

Themes: Oneness

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“The human dream is to want something or someone to save us... If there's anything to learn here, you have to learn it by yourself.”

Chapters:

Themes: Dream

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“The idea that there is a universe that existed five minutes ago or that will exist in five minutes is just that: an idea in your head.”

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Themes: History

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“The minute something is wrong, we run to the doctor and see if we can't get a quick fix... Western culture tells us that if something does not please us, that if it feels disturbing or wrong to us, it should have an immediate antidote.”

Chapters:

Themes: Medicine

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“the purpose of your life is just to be yourself. That doesn't mean to be yourself in the ordinary sense. It means to be your true self, a self that does good.”

Chapters:

Themes: True Self

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“The very nature of our practice is to see through the expectations and illusions in our relationships.”

Chapters:

Themes: Illusion

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“Therapy gives relief; sitting gives freedom. If you practice long and hard enough, and uncover your core belief, you won't need therapy. Instead of being self-centered, you will become life-centered.”

Chapters:

Themes: Freedom

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“There is a reality that has no form, much less a name. Beautiful and also true. We are nothing but the second-by-second manifestation of that reality.”

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Themes: Emptiness

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“There is neither heaven nor earth, only old age approaching steadily.”

Chapters:

Themes: Old Age

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“There's no where to go... There's simply being at peace with wherever you are.”

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“Training in itself is nonsense, because life is fine just as it is, but we're not going to see that without the diligence of practice.”

Chapters:

Themes: Wu Wei

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“We aren't sloppy when we're really appreciating what goes on. Basically, our attention is always slipping from what's arising and going back to our notion of ourselves.”

Chapters:

Themes: Appreciation

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“we don't know where we're going—we're just lost at sea... we feel disturbed because we're unanchored, so we focus on thinking about how we're on our way to somewhere wonderful.”

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“What you have to see is that you don't like yourself. But the self you don't like isn't your true self; the self you don't like consists of your core belief, with its accompanying thoughts and body sensations.”

Chapters:

Themes: Confusion

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“When unreality meets reality, which is experiencing, then slowly the unreality just fades away. You begin to recognize what's underneath the surface, what's underneath even that core belief.”

Chapters:

Themes: Reality

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“Who you are is life itself. The knowing and understanding that comes out of that recognition can hold a lot.”

Chapters:

Themes: Know Yourself

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“Zen practice and sitting can be the biggest escape there is if you stop paying attention... Our true self is always blocked by our glittering images.”

Chapters:

Themes: Golden Chains

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Related Lineages (3 lineages)

Women of Wisdom

Zen

American (USA)

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